heron

Frogpond 34.2 • 2011

Museum of Haiku
Literature Award

Haiku & Senryu

Revelations Unedited

Essay - Trumbull

Haibun

Rengay

Renku

Book Review

From the Editors

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Editors’ Note: The renga is an older form of Japanese linked poetry than the renku. For the HSA definition of the renku, go to the HSA Web. site <http://www.hsa-haiku.org/archives/HSA_Definitions_2004.html>. For a scholarly, but clear, discussion of how the renku evolved from the renga, read the chapter “Distinctive Features of Linked Poetry” in Miner, E., Japanese Linked Poetry, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979, pp. 140-159. As can be seen in this section, both forms are practiced today.

Sacred May

A Kasen Renku by

Christopher Herold (c), Port Townsend, Washington
Hortensia Anderson (h), New York City, New York
Eiko Yachimoto (e), Yokosuka City, Japan
Karma Tenzing Wangchuk (t), Port Townsend, Washington

1.

sacred May
blue of borage blooms
ready in my palette

(e)

2.

how soft the edge
between cumulus and sky

(h)

3.

a mother sings
"Row, Row, Row Your Boat"
to her newborn

(t)

4.

among the relatives
one is a rich man

(e)

5.

harvest moonrise
begins as a fan of light
spreading in the east

(c)

6.

scarecrow's face
seems to glow with pride

(t)

7.

today's newspaper
and grass seed sparrows
loudly twittering

(e)

8.

everyone in the whole school
now knows Jenny kissed me

(c)
9.

cornered to confess...
his poem in chest pocket
about to explode

(e)
10.

we recommend Remington
for a shotgun wedding

(h)
11.

thick gobs of crude
lap against the pilings
of the shrimper's deck

(t)
12.

a bit too much horseradish
in the cocktail sauce

(c)
13.

taking the dare,
she skis down the slope
naked in moonlight

(t)

14.

snuggled by the fireplace
they read a friend's diary

(c)

15.

the first sonograms
with the dates engraved
on sterling frames

(h)

16.

your breath will clean away
all fingerprints

(e)
17.

fallen plum petals
so soon translucent
in the rain

(c)
18.

spring haze damps the sound
of cars at rush-hour

(t)
19.

through each conch shell
the ocean's voice has
a different echo

(h)
20.

climbing down the spiral stairs
the observatory chief

(e)
21.

a special diet
planned also for his bulldog
with high cholesterol

(t)
22.

the third can of Drano
for our clogged economy

(c)
23.

carried by cicada song
the scent of earth
to a trillion stars

(t)
24.

smoke drifts from fireworks
across the vast horizon

(h)
25.

heartbeat slowing
I begin to roam through
more personal dreams

(c)
26.

at the Sorbonne,
polonium at a petri dish

(c)
27.

with platinum rings
that will remain untarnished
they exchange vows

(h)
28.

the choice of miso
finally agreed upon

(e)
29.

from the moon bridge
we gaze as our reflections merge
in the water

(h)
30.

the last light of day
caught in a fallen leaf

(t)
31.

cheers erupt
at the cross-country meet's
photo-finish

(c)
32.

in a hidden valley
tortoises fast asleep

(e)
33.

a large round stone
marks the northern limit
of her property

(t)
34.

iridescent soap bubbles
float into the neighbour's garden

(h)
35.

an old scholar lives
in the depth of the blossom
teaching math

(e)
36.

with each kick of my legs
the arc of the swing widens

(c)

A Note From Eiko Yachimoto

Last spring Hortensia Anderson invited me to write with her. I accepted and proposed to invite two more poets I had never collaborated with: Christopher Herold and Karma Tenzing Wangchuck. Except for Tenzing, three of us had the experience of being a judge of an HSA Einbond Renku Contest, though each in a different year. I hoped we could clarify each other's renku-related questions as we com- posed together. And Tenzing has been a good friend of mine for many years even though we have never met in person. I always wanted to write a renku with him someday.

For that matter I have never met anyone in person and I cannot believe it. I know renku has got a mysterious power of fostering a personal bond among participants, but this session by e-mail exchange went exceptionally well: we had a wonderful time all through the long session feeling comfortable in receiving advice, critique and help while respecting each other's sabakiship.

Alas, I never raised the questions I wanted to ask during the session, which must be a proof that I was using my right brain, and my left brain for logical analysis was turned off all the while! (I have forgotten what my questions were.)

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